There are four 100% professionals on China’s national football squad: full-backs Fan Zhiyi from Scotland’s Dandy and Sun Jihai from Britain’s Manchester, forward Yang Chen from Germany’s Eintracht, and coach Bora Milutinovic from Serbia
To tell the truth, Chinese football has become professional long ago, which means that Chinese clubs also buy third-rate foreign football stars, as the country is experiencing riots of fans and bribing of referees. There are colored players practically in every leading league football club; this does not mean that such players are super professionals, but they serve as an attraction for fans. The country is also very proud when some European club desires to invite Chinese players (this is not frequent in China, by the way). This is why it is perfectly clear that the appearance of the Chinese national squad in the world cup’s final made the country really very happy.
PRAVDA.Ru has already reported that the leading Chinese media are rating the event as one of the most significant over 2001. Chinese media report that participation in the final may also be considered a victory, irrespective of the team's result. Professional coach Milutinovic contributed greatly to this result. The Serbian coach was picked out for the Chinese national squad for his remarkable personal achievements: the coach brought the steams of Mexico, Costa Rica, the USA and Nigeria to a world elite level. Probably, he can be even included into the Guinness Book of World Records. In any case, Bora Milutinovic is already enjoying the reputation of the most respected foreigner in China.
A psychological motto that “victory is already won” and glory gained, no matter how the matches turn out, will morally help Chinese football-players to set themselves free. The national squad itself promises to do its best to try and get into European clubs. Milutinovic himself says: “If we beat Costa Rica, lose a game to Brazil and have a draw with Turkey, we can make it to the next round.”
It is to be added at that, 35 thousand Chinese fans purchased tickets to the world cup in Japan and South Korea. Therefore, the national squad will have considerable moral support at the games.
Andrei Krushinsky PRAVDA.Ru Beijing
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/05/29/41927.html